A Galt marijuana dispensary will have to temporarily close if a judge's proposed ruling stands.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang issued a temporary restraining order against the Galt Wellness Center, requiring the pot dispensary to close while the court process proceeds, which could take longer than a year.
The center has five days to respond, and then the judge will make a final decision, said George Mull, the attorney for the collective. Chang most likely will make a decision late next week.
For now, the center remains open. If the temporary restraining order stands, Mull said the collective will most likely wait to appeal the decision until another court case is decided in late August.
The case, Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim, is before the 4th District Court of Appeal and could decide whether local cities and agencies can ban medicinal marijuana dispensaries.
"This is a developing area of law," Mull said "There's a lot of ambiguity on the legislation."
He was concerned the collective could suffer financially if it is closed while preparing for trial. Currently, there is more than a year delay before a case could go to trial in Sacramento County, Mull said.
"For a small collective, it is hard for them to afford to do that," he said.
One option the collective is considering is a home delivery service to support the business if it forced to close until the court case is resolved.
The dispensary opened on May 18 at 520 Lincoln Way, near the Galt Post Office. It is a nonprofit collective where growers sell cannabis to the dispensary, which in turn sells it on consignment to patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana.
The city immediately filed a lawsuit because it says the business is not allowed under city code. In July 2009, the Galt City Council passed an ordinance outlawing any building or location where someone gives or sells medical marijuana to two or more patients with identification cards or primary caregivers.
Temporary restraining orders are granted based on whether the plaintiff will most likely succeed in the court case and whether or not granting the injunction could harm the plaintiff.
Galt Police Chief Loren Cattolico said the dispensary opening is not so much of a police issue because medical marijuana is allowed under the law.
"They tried to go around the rules. The issues here isn't whether I support medical marijuana. The issue is whether businesses need to follow the zoning laws of the city," Cattolico said.